99 MILES TO PHILLY6/10/2013
94 Third Avenue
New York, NY 10003
If Philadelphia is known the world over for one food, it's the cheesesteak. Beef, bread, peppers, onions, and Cheez Whiz. Cheez Whiz, some say, isn't even cheese. But it doesn't claim to be. It's "cheez" and it's what a proper Philly cheesesteak has, usually glopped on with a big wooden spoon from a dutch oven filled with the stuff. If you decide to go hoity toity and get cheddar or swiss, knock yourself out, but it's not the same thing.
The other day, I was walking past 99 Miles to Philly on 13th and Third (there's also a location on 45th and Second) on my way from point A to point B and, given how much time I spend in Philadelphia, decided that lunch should be here. Hell, I've been working out, right? A little sandwich can't hurt. Right?
99 Miles to Philly has a relatively small menu. Basically, you order cheesesteak sandwiches. Unlike the guys in Philadelphia though, who've been known to yell at people for trying to customize their wares, 99 Miles makes it the focal point of their experience. Beef, chicken, or veggie patties for the meat, a variety of cheeses, and a whole bunch of options. I chose the Beef Cheesesteak Sandwich with peppers, onions, and, for authenticity, whiz. Now, "beef" in a typical cheesesteak sandwich, is Steak-ums, an ultra-pureed ultra-low-quality meat paste that gets flash frozen and sliced into paper thin sheets for sandwiches such as this. Normally, if someone tried to feed you Steak-ums meat, you'd punch them in the face. But somehow, in a cheesesteak sandwich, you're willing to pay for it. And you'll do so repeatedly. Anyway, my fake cheese, fake meat sandwich wasn't bad. It just wasn't really terribly good either. I'm not really complaining because it was cheap, but I've had better.
I also tried 99 Miles' Chili Cheese Waffle Fries. The waffle fries were good and dunked in whiz and chili, even better. The same can't be said of the Jalapeno Poppers, which were so mild that they tasted like nothing. And worse, they not only came with whiz for dipping... they were filled with whiz!!! What? Not cream cheese? Philadelphia Cream Cheese? No. not good.
The sandwich was under $10 and the sides were under $5 each. So if you go it won't be a pricey meal. I wouldn't drive 99 miles for a better cheesesteak, but...
And no. I did not finish any of the things you see pictured.
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